Friday, March 13, 2009

Deval .. how could he do this?

Governor Deval Patrick, who campaigned on a platform to fight business as usual on Beacon Hill, has given one of his earliest political supporters a $175,000-a-year job as an assistant director at a state bonding authority, a position that had sat vacant for more than a dozen years.

State Senator Marian Walsh's appointment was approved yesterday by the board of the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority, which is dominated by Patrick appointees. The new post will give her a pay raise of nearly $100,000 a year. The agency said Walsh will head its new effort to reach out to other authorities and state agencies to create savings by pooling resources.

Republicans sharply criticized Patrick yesterday for appointing Walsh, a nine-term West Roxbury Democrat, to such a high-paying post as the nation slides into serious recession and the state government is slashing its budget and laying people off. The appointment comes as unemployment in the private sector has risen to 7.4 percent.

"Creating a job for Marian Walsh does not count as one of the thousands of jobs Governor Patrick promised to create in Massachusetts," said Barney Keller, the GOP spokesman. "Instead of rewarding supporters with high-paying jobs, the governor should focus on creating jobs for the thousands of unemployed taxpayers."

Two years ago, Patrick appointed Walsh's husband - Paul V. Buckley, a retired District Court judge - to the state's Industrial Accident Board, a post that pays $113,000 a year. That job will sharply increase his state pension. Walsh had applied to Patrick's Judicial Nominating Commission to become a district court judge, but she withdrew her name a year ago.

Joseph Landolfi, the governor's spokesman, did not respond directly to the GOP criticism. He issued a statement saying that Walsh was "highly qualified" for the post and that the governor's office looks forward to working with her.

Walsh's office said she would not be available to comment on her new job.

In a joint statement, the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority chairman, Allen Larson, and its executive director, Benson Caswell, said Walsh's 20 years of experience in the Legislature gives her the credentials for the job. "She is a highly qualified and well-respected individual," they said in the written statement.

Walsh had originally been slated to take over as executive director of the facilities authority, but the governor's staff backed down after the Globe published an e-mail in May 2008 from a Walsh adviser to Patrick's chief of staff that detailed a plan to push Caswell out of the $225,000-a-year position, pack the board with Patrick supporters, and then have the board appoint her to his position.

Walsh, the Senate majority whip, will see a significant boost in her current $76,440 state salary. But the authority is not part of the state pension system, and her new salary will not boost her state retirement benefits. The agency, which secures tax-exempt capital financing for hospitals, colleges and universities, cultural and research institutions, and human service providers, has a private savings retirement system.The veteran lawmaker had been looking to give up her seat for a state job for several years. Beacon Hill officials have said her relationship with Senate President Therese Murray has been strained. She has held the Senate seat since 1992, after serving two terms in the House.

Murray issued a statement yesterday praising Walsh, saying she has been a "strong advocate for her constituents and a champion of important issues."'

Caswell has extensive experience in public bonding and non-profit debt.

Walsh's credentials in public bonding are not as strong. She holds a theological degree from Harvard Divinity School and a law degree from Suffolk University. She has worked on state finance and financial regulation issues, serving as Senate chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Joint Committee on Banks and Banking. She also led efforts in the Senate to force private, nonprofit organizations to open their books to the public.

Walsh was one of the first state political figures to back what was then considered a long-shot bid by Patrick to win the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006. Within days after winning the governor's race, Patrick, having vowed to upend the political culture on Beacon Hill, told reporters that state legislators should not expect patronage appointments from him.


At March 13, 2009 at 2:13 PM , Blogger Frustrated in Framingham said...

Unbeleivable, and disgusting. I have to pay a higher gas tax, a higher toll, and he appoints his friends to a position she is questionably qualified for, at a salary that is ridiculous. It is not even the job that bothers me as much as it is that he does not see this as a problem. What sort of judgement is he exhibiting with this decision?

At March 13, 2009 at 2:37 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Deval is in Jamaica this week... I hope all that good ganja didn't leave him without any common sense. You can bet, next week, the media will have a field day with this news. If she didn't take this job, I feel sure, she would have been a lobbyist, causing even more damage.

At March 13, 2009 at 2:47 PM , Blogger Worried 01701 said...

And we are surprised by this why? Have you been reading the blog here, or the papers people. Mr. Patrick is spending all our money and doing it while he lies to our faces about he wants change, accountability and ethical behavior. Change starts at the top. When he starts behaving as an honest, responsible politician, then maybe he can hold the state house people to the same level of accountability, but a little tough to hold them to behavior he does not follow himself. He apparently is an advocate of do as I say, not as I do. Who can blame him, so far it is working for him! I think he is much worse than any of you seem to think myself. He just has a great facade of being concerned and aware to hide behind. Look at his actions, not his words, and he does not fall on the side of ethical!

At March 13, 2009 at 2:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave the bastard in Jamaica. I say we just kick all of them out and take over the state government. First step is firing every single one of them and their staff. No paid positions. We all just look out for ourselves. We would still be ahead of where we are now!

At March 13, 2009 at 3:18 PM , Blogger Arnold said...

Jim, can you put that link to report fraud back up on the website where we can find it, maybe in the box on the top right? I think this appointment qualifies as fraud, what do the rest of you think?

At March 13, 2009 at 3:24 PM , Blogger Linda and George said...

We almost did not check here today, figured it was Friday, the weekend, probably nothing new. Glad I came. One thing I would like to comment on here Mr. Pillsbury. Nice to see you covering the stories from other sources here, but really, we are more interested in your take on them than we are in the story itself. You use to post your thoughts on topics, now you post the story from somewhere else, and then comment on other peoples comments. You seem to understand a lot of this better than the rest of us, so beleive it or not, we come here to see what you have to say more than we come here to here whats new. So although I do appreciate you getting so much of this out to us, I do miss those blog topics generated by you instead of being the text of someone else's articles. Not a complaint, so please don't take it as one. Just a comment. Good job, and keep up the good work.

At March 13, 2009 at 3:35 PM , Blogger B. Murray said...

I said from the beginning I questioned Patrick’s ethics. He made some huge mis-steps in his first few months in office. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt, let him get his feet wet at the job. But to do this now? Come on man! You think she is qualified for the job, ok, but to create a new job with that type of salary in a state where we are cutting jobs and asking unions to forgo negotiated raises shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation. Did he not think this was going to get people up in arms? How could he be that out of touch?

At March 13, 2009 at 3:58 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Arnold.. good point... I'll have that done tonight..

Linda&George... I hear ya... and I tried to tidbit my spin on both pieces, but it was longer than the piece in the Globe and I ended up being pissed at every word I wrote... I'm calmer now.

I will do better in the future on this end.

At March 13, 2009 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Frank S. said...

Who is the bigger idiot, Patrick for doing this, or us for being surprised that he did it? Politics corrupts, and it seems that MA politics corrupts absolutely. When are we going to learn that?

At March 13, 2009 at 5:16 PM , Blogger Junior said...

You ask How could he do this? The answer is because he can get away with it. What exactly is going to stop him from doing this, or pretty much anything else he wants short of murder. There is no method in place to restrain corrupt politicians except impeachment. Do you want to impeach the sitting Governor in the economic crisis we are in, or at least we are supposedly in. Not sure that is a good option, but it really is the only one open to us, so that is why he could do this. THere is no one out there strong enough to stop him, and the MA residents won't stand together stron against this type of thing!

At March 13, 2009 at 8:35 PM , Blogger Help said...

If we have not needed this for the last 12 years, why the hell do we need this now? What does she have that no one else has had for the last dozen years? And is that of any use to the rest of us now, and is it worth all that money? i doubt it myself

At March 13, 2009 at 8:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets hope he stays in Jamaica and taxes them to death!

At March 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Brian V. said...

I have not hear anything about his response to the questions about this appointment, or if he beleives he has a defensable reason for the appointment. I saw him at the St. Patrick's Day roast, so he is back. Is he just going to ignore people's questions on this? Does he think he is above the budget crisis for things he wants? How much more of this are we going to take?

At March 16, 2009 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Even though her salary doesn't come from the State, (reportedly) he clearly seems to be not concerned with this announcement. He made this choice a while ago for sure.. and timed it to go while he was away. I still think there will be more on thsi subject... in the next week or so.

This in just another example of whats wrong with this State.. is all I can say at this point.. as much as I'm trying to support him.. in any small way.. he's not Obama and it gets harder to understand what Deval is doing. I whish he had spent more time in Obama's apartment in school.

Deval is making a strong case to be replaced in 2010 as of now. Theses lapses in judgement and fairness will cost him BIG very soon if he continues on this path of one party elitism.

At March 16, 2009 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Harry said...

I agree with your comments Jim, Deval is losing ground with me, and I think with many supporters who hoped for better from him. He has become one of the elite instead of the outsider he told us he was proud to be. Sorry situation, because I do think he has the right ideas, but he is getting all caught up in the MA politics, which is NEVER a good thing. But I am not going to give up on him just yet. I could still turn things around if he remembers what his promises to the voters were that got him elected. If he wants to get elected again, I think he will have to make good on some of those promises. No one saw this economic disaster coming, but he can not use that as an excuse to make decisions that impact all of us without listening to what any of us have to say. I honestly want to beleive in the guy and support him, but it is getting harder and harder to do that every day. I wonder what his friend Obama thinks of these decisions he is making. Could be why he is not in DC now, maybe Obama knew him better than we did.

At March 16, 2009 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Harry... good point,

I never thought of it that way.... maybe Obama knew that Deval would be a liability....

At March 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Angry Voter said...

Mr. Pillsbury you say the money to pay the woman for this job does not come from the state. Well then, where exactly does it come from? I don't get that. And what exactly is this position suppose to do that it is so necessary now even though it has not been filled since Weld was our governor. Also, is there an address we can email to let the governor know we are questioning his thinking on this? I try to have faith in someone being ethical until I am given proof to the contrary, but that proof to the contrary is starting to mount up against GOv. Deval, don't you think?

At March 16, 2009 at 4:42 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


I have read that her salary is not coming out of the State Budget but have not read from where her salary is paid from.. SO... where her salary comes form is unclear as of now, but your point is well taken.. what in the world will she do and what effect or impact will she have, and why now after 12 years. Well, clearly Deval made a promise to her long ago and he's living up to it. But I'll bet, this week the press will PRESS him for answers.
Devals address


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